Snowboarding in Japan – Resort Review – Hotaka Bokujyou

Location: Gunma

Distance from Tokyo: Approximately 200km by car

Resort Details: http://www.snowjapan.com/e/resorts/resortdetail.php?resid=50

Resort ‘Category’: Snowboard Park

Resort Rating: 7/10

Resort Value: 10/10

Resort Homepage: http://www.hotakasan.co.jp/hotaka/index.html

Hotaka Bokujyou is a relatively small resort with many features great for snowboarding. The thing I liked most about it was the distinct absence of skiers. It’s also the best in terms of affordability. If you are staying at one of the pensions in the area (I recommend Pension Tsukasa – Booked through Tocoo) you can get a full day pass with a 800 yen food voucher for 2800 yen.

I would recommend this resort to beginners all the way through to advanced snowboarders who are looking for a good area to practice jumps, boxes and halfpipe. They have a lift that runs just the course of the jumps, making it easy to get in many runs without going down the whole mountain.

Unfortunately the snow condition wasn’t too good when I went (Twice in February) but is most likely due to the warmer winter here this year. I am looking forward to going again next year mid winter.

Note that they do not accept credit cards, so take enough cash for the day.

Live Camera

Snowboard Kit Addition

Decided to upgrade my jacket to one ‘compatible’ with my pants – the zip interface in particular. The Burton White Collection Puffy Jacket is currently heavily discounted – I managed to purchase mine 55% off the retail price, about 14,000 yen.

As always, the size is just a little small (L size) but I have little choice living in Japan. It is however, much bigger than my last Jacket – as my wrists would be exposed all the time.

The jacket is really warm, and fairly comfortable.  The only issue I had was with the underarm zips, they would be almost impossible to zip close without taking the jacket off. The zips would always get stuck in the netting. It also gets dirty very easily, obviously because it is white, but there were no other colors available in the store.

I now look like a zebra, everything I wear is black and white.

Snowboard Kit

Have been boarding a lot more this winter. I still want to go two or three more times, but it looks like the warmer weather is already upon us. Below is a list of all the gear I take when snowboarding.

1. The Board. I picked this up cheap from the winter sports festival in Kaihin Makuhari two years ago. It’s served its purpose of being a beginner board for me. Ill be investing in a better board come next season.

2. Bindings. My original set came with the board, but these broke after one season, so I bought the Burton Freetyle bindings for this year. Much, much better than the previous ones.

3. Boots. Again, I started out with a budget pair when I bought my board. These were fine but would cause immense pain around my ankle bone after an hour or so. So I bought a new pair last month. It was a toss up between Burton (cheaper) and Head (More comfortable) – I went with the Head BOA Classic Black.

Unfortunately the Head insole/liner (inner boot) seams split after the first time down the mountain. Kind of  inexcusable for a new pair of boots. I contacted the Head guys over here and they were happy to repair them but I would have been happier if they replaced them with a new pair.

4. Gear. Just a standard set of clothes and some protection. I have Knee pads, Helmet, and ass pads for protection. Clothing wise, its just a standard snowboarding jacket and Burton Poachers for pants. I also bought some cheap wrist guards for the big jumps, but haven’t tried them out yet.

Looking forward to going again this weekend. Hopefully it will snow sometime this week.

Mount Racey – Yuubari, Hokkaido.

Went again this year to Mt. Racey in Hokkaido. The package tour this year was more expensive than last year, but we did get an extra day to spend in Sapporo. Total cost was around 67,000 yen each, which covered airfare, hotel accommodation and some discounts – no food included in the package like last year.

The weather wasn’t as good as it could have been on the first day, but was much better on the second and third. I also took up our new video camera and (very carefully) took some clips of the mountain.

Didn’t get much jumping in this time around even though there was more snow. We also managed to visit the snow festival in Sapporo at night time which was nice. The same day we headed back to Chiba, we also visited the Sapporo beer museum and learnt a little about the history of beer in Japan.

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